Background Switcher (Hidden)

Connecting the Dots: A Mystery Egg

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

And now for connecting the dots. I love a good mystery, and am all about connecting dots. 

I found an eggshell fragment down Dean's Fork.  It was pale, unmarked blue, and it was BIG. 

It was too big and pale for a robin, and too big for a cuckoo, though cuckoos lay amazingly large eggs. It was too small for a duck, but entirely too big for a songbird. There is a limited complement of birds who lay unmarked blue eggs, and I quickly ran through them in my mental catalogue. 

The only candidate left was one I'd seen in an Instagram post by my dear friend Donna Quinn.

Donna watches the nesting green herons in the lakeside development where she lives. She listens to their calls and watches as they raise their young. These are her photos of newly pipped eggshells. You can see the fresh blood vessels still inside the shells. The neat margins mean the chick cut the shell, not some random predator.

I thought we had a match, but I wanted to be sure. So, being the Science Chimp, I adjusted my photo to actual size on my computer screen, by comparing it to my actual hand. 

Then, I traced the photo, fingers and all. Working from the natural curves of the shell, I "completed" the eggshell fragment with pencil lines, restoring the outline of the (imagined) entire egg as the curves of the shell fragment guided me.

My reconstructed egg worked out to 27 x 37 mm. 
Measurements in my nest and egg identification guide were 29 x 38 mm. 

Close enough for me. There are green herons nesting down the Fork, and I'd found and identified their pipped eggshell. Oh, what a feeling! I've seen them so very seldom down there, but this is incontrovertible evidence that not only are they present, they are nesting!

Maybe someday I'll see a young one. Maybe someday I'll see an otter down there. 

The pond is ever more precious with each passing day. We made a pilgrimage on the evening of July 4, knowing we'd see something good.

The waters are clearing as rain holds off. When it's dry, the beavers no longer have to disturb the bottom for mud with which to build the dam higher. 

We watched a red bat, big and just as red as a cinnamon stick, making figure 8's over the dam. We briefly glimpsed that otter I've been tracking as it struck terror into the hearts of bull and green frogs in the cattails. We could trace its progress by the frantic flops of frogs. Phoebe made out its chocolate back and grayish-tan chin and under-neck. (It's not in the photo, and neither is the bat. Both too fast for me!)

 And as we drew near, we saw this big doe pop up over the dam rim, having walked up the dam from below. Now that was cool! Just look at her reflection in the clearing water!

As you know, the real world is where I love to be. But there's another livestreaming event coming up at 8pm on Thursday, July 9. 
It's a lively but relaxed conversation, an interview of me by my friend, the wildly talented singer/songwriter Todd Burge. We'll talk about art, life, creativity, Sugarbean the skunk, and Dustin, the song sparrow the kids and I raised this summer. Afterward, there will be time for live questions from you! I'll answer them as best I can on camera, live. 

The link to the show is here: 

and it's happening Thursday July 9 at 8 pm.

Dustin is big on social media, but he hasn't hit my blog yet. 


Green herons! My fav!
I once followers a clutch of three and in their "teenage"
stage I swear one had a Mohawk
buzz cut on the top of his/her head as he/she molted fuzz into gorgeous feathers.

Sugarbean has popped into mind several times lately and I've been meaning to ask about him. News?

What a find! Dean's Fork is a special place---wish I had something similar to explore!

[Back to Top]